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 Saginaw Spirit

Spirit Fall in Back-And-Forth Game 4

May 1, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Saginaw Spirit News Release

Saginaw Spirit battle the London Knights
Saginaw Spirit battle the London Knights
(Saginaw Spirit, Credit: Eric Young)

Saginaw, Mich. - The Spirit saw a 7-3 defeat in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at the Dow Event Center on Wednesday night. Sam O'Reilly collected four points (2G, 2A), Oliver Bonk and Easton Cowan both finished with a goal and an assist, and Michael Simpson started for the Knights stopping 34 of 37 while Nolan Lalonde goaltended for Saginaw stopping 21 of 26. Calem Mangone, Jorian Donovan, and Owen Beck provided the Spirit scoring.

London notched the first tally of the game just 28 seconds into the first period. Off a neutral zone breakout, Max McCue entered the zone and passed cross ice to Sam O'Riley. His pass across found Sam Dickinson, and the defenseman gave the Knights a 1-0 lead.

Approximately two minutes later, Oliver Bonk retrieved the puck in the London zone and moved the puck up to Easton Cowan standing at the Saginaw blueline. Cowan flipped a puck out to O'Reilly, who raced in and quickly doubled up for the Knights.

Following a penalty by London's Oliver Bonk for cross-checking, Saginaw would go on its first powerplay of the game. On the man advantage, Matyas Sapovaliv collected the puck in the left corner before moving the puck behind the net. Calem Mangone worked below the goal line to find Owen Beck, and stuffed Beck's rebound to get Saginaw on the board.

At the tail end of the first, London's Kasper Halttunen was ushered to the box for a cross-checking penalty giving Saginaw a powerplay that would roll over into the second period.

AFTER 1: LDN 2 - 1 SAG (Total Shots: 9 - 14)

Seconds after returning from a penalty kill for Saginaw, Rulsan Gazizov held the puck in the neutral zone before firing a pass up the bench-side boards finding the stick of Max McCue. His pass found Landon Sim, who fought through traffic to give London the 3-1 lead.

At 5:44 into the second, Saginaw upped the pressure in the offensive zone through Joey Willis. He jammed a puck to the left point for Sebastien Gervais, and the Saginaw winger fed Jorian Donovan who brought the Spirit back to within a goal again.

Following a trip to the penalty box for Saginaw's Calem Mangone, Kasper Halttunen sent a shot on goal from the point that was knocked down in the low slot. Jacob Julien helped the rebound to Oliver Bonk for the powerplay goal and a 4-2 lead.

The Spirit responded with a powerplay goal of their own following a slashing penalty by London's Rulan Gazizov. An attempted clear by London was knocked down at the blueline by Owen Beck who in turn, fired a pass cross ice finding Calem Mangone. His pass was deflected by Zayne Parekh, and Owen Beck pumped it home from the left wing circle to cut London's lead back to one.

AFTER 2: LDN 4 - 3 SAG (2nd period shots: 8 - 12, Total Shots: 17 - 26)

At 15:55 into the third, Sam O'Reilly and Max McCue helped the puck to Easton Cowan on a rush opportunity. His shot bounced off Nolan Lalonde and Joey Willis for another two-goal lead.

A pair of empty-netters by O'Reilly and Isaiah George gave London the insurance to take Game 4.

FINAL: LDN 7 - 3 SAG (3rd period shots: 11 - 11, Total Shots: 28 - 37)

Powerplay: LDN 1/2, SAG 2/6

Goaltenders: LDN: Michael Simpson (34 Saves, 37 Shots, W) - SAG: Nolan Lalonde (21 Saves, 26 Shots, L)

The Spirit head back to London Friday night for Game 5. Puck drop is at 7:00pm as the Spirit, trailing 3-1, fight for their postseason.

Images from this story

Saginaw Spirit battle the London Knights
Saginaw Spirit battle the London Knights

(Eric Young)

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